Search for Jesus is an online ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). Through its evangelistic website, PeaceWithGod.org.uk, the ministry reaches people around the world with news of God’s love for them, giving online visitors a chance to connect one-on-one with a trained volunteer.
On Sunday night, 26 February, a BGEA employee in the United States went into the office to fix an issue with a chat function. The ministry’s website features a chat button visitors can click to begin an online conversation, and with over 150 volunteer chat coaches trained to respond, there’s typically someone online when a visitor wants to talk.
But that Sunday, the button wasn’t showing up as it should have. The BGEA employee worked quickly to fix it so visitors who might have questions or need encouragement could get through.
As soon as the problem was fixed, a woman named Alisha* came online and clicked the button to chat. That night, God had the perfect person in mind to respond on the other end of the screen.
Within seconds, Alisha connected with Candace*, a trained chat coach from Tennessee. Alisha shared that her 20-year-old son was in the hospital after attempting suicide for the second time. She was looking for encouragement and prayer.
“Oh, Alisha, the Lord put me here for you tonight,” said Candace, a homeschooling mother of four. She told Alisha how her own teenage son was recently released from the hospital after his second suicide attempt in five months.
“Oh, wow. Yes, I believe God did put you here for me,” Alisha replied.
Alisha said she’s a Christian and has trusted God to protect her son. She’s also asked Him to make her the godly mother she needs to be so she can have a positive influence on him. As the conversation continued, Candace, a former missionary, spoke to Alisha as a fellow mother, sharing that Psalm 18—about God being her rock and fortress—has sustained her as she’s meditated on it over the past weeks.
“I will do the same tonight,” Alisha said.
Because of her own journey, Candace had just the words to say during this dark time.
“The enemy will want to accuse you for your son’s attempt, but the Lord does not condemn us at all,” Candace continued. “Romans 8:1 is my anchor when the enemy accuses: ‘There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.’”
That verse—coming from someone like Candace—came at the perfect time.
“I so needed to hear that,” Alisha told the chat coach. “That’s exactly how I was feeling. That’s why I came here. … I was starting to doubt my parenting and go back in my past and blame myself for things.”
While parents are imperfect, Candace admitted, children make their own choices: “The fact is we love our children. … One of the challenges of dealing with these situations is to care but not take responsibility.”
Candace encouraged Alisha to keep praying for her son and assured her that God loves both of them.
“I’m so thankful you are here for me,” Alisha typed.
Toward the end of the chat, Candace wrote out a prayer for Alisha, asking God to give her a good night’s sleep and strength in the days to come. The two women said they would pray for each other’s sons.
Had this burdened mother visited the website minutes earlier—while the chat button was being fixed—the conversation might not have happened. But as is often the case, God had something better in mind. As Candace pointed out that Sunday night, “There are no coincidences in God’s world.”
*Names changed to protect privacy.
Are you interested in volunteering with BGEA’s Search for Jesus ministry? Here’s how you can get involved.